What is Health First Colorado (Medicaid)?

Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) is free or low-cost health care for Colorado children and adults who qualify. Coloradans who meet specific monthly income requirements can get insurance through Health First Colorado.

Coloradans can sign up for Health First Colorado any time during the year if they qualify. There is no open enrollment period for Health First Colorado during the year.

Applications can be submitted through Connect for Health Colorado or Colorado’s Program Eligibility and Application Kit (PEAK) eligibility system any time during the year.

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Former Health First Colorado members have 60 days after their coverage ends to sign up for a plan through Connect for Health Colorado 

 

If you lose Health First Colorado coverage because of a change in your income or family size, you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. Former Health First Colorado members have 60 days from the date their Health First Colorado coverage ends to sign up for a plan through Connect for Health Colorado. (You can also always sign up during Connect for Health Colorado’s Open Enrollment period.)

See if you can sign up for Health First Colorado

You may qualify for Health First Colorado if you meet the monthly income guidelines:

Family SizeApproximate Monthly Family Income to Qualify for Health First Colorado
Adults 19 – 64Children 0 – 18Pregnant Women
1Up to $1,385Up to $1,478Up to $2,030
2Up to $1,875Up to $2,002Up to $2,748
3Up to $2,365Up to $2,525Up to $3,467
4Up to $2,854Up to $3,048Up to $4,185
5Up tp $3,344Up to $3,571Up to $4,903
6Up to $3,834Up to $4,094Up to $5,621

  Tip: You can apply for Connect for Health Colorado, Health First Colorado and Child Health Plan Plus at the same time

When you apply through Connect for Health Colorado, you will provide information about your income and household. Then, you will find out whether you qualify for Connect for Health Colorado, Health First Colorado, or Child Health Plan Plus. 

 

  • If you apply through Connect for Health Colorado, Connect for Health Colorado, will let you know if you and your family likely qualify for Health First Colorado and/or CHP+, and will send your application to the State of Colorado for a full eligibility determination.
  • If you apply through PEAK (the system used by Health First Colorado), and you or your family likely qualify for financial help to buy private health insurance plan, the State of Colorado will send your application to Connect for Health Colorado. You will need to log into your Connect for Health Colorado account to review your application information and enroll in a private health insurance plan. 

After you submit your application, you may receive two letters: one from the State of Colorado and one from Connect for Health Colorado. If you are eligible for a plan with Connect for Health Colorado, you can select a plan and enroll right away, and do not need to wait for your letter to arrive.

 

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Comparing Connect for Health Colorado and Health First Colorado

Connect for Health Colorado is the official health insurance marketplace for Colorado residents to shop for health plans and access financial help. 

Health First Colorado and Connect for Health Colorado both provide financial help to make health coverage and healthcare more affordable. Here’s an overview of how the plans Connect for Health Colorado sells are different from the coverage you get through Health First Colorado:

Coverage DetailsConnect for Health ColoradoHealth First Colorado
Is there a monthly premium?Yes, the monthly premium depends on your income, family size, and the plan you chooseNo
Is there a deductible?Yes, and the deductible will vary by insurance planNo
Do I pay when I receive health care services?Yes, you will pay copayments and coinsurance when you receive careYou might pay small copays for some services
When can I sign up for a plan if I do not have insurance?November 1 – January 15Anytime during the year, if you qualify
When can I sign up for insurance if my insurance plan just ended?You  have 60 days before OR 60 days after the day your plan ended to sign upAnytime during the year, if you qualify
When can I sign up for insurance if I moved, got married or had a baby?You have 60 days to sign up starting on the day you moved, got married or had a baby.Anytime during the year, if you qualify

Go to Health First Colorado’s website if you would like more information about Colorado’s Medicaid program »

Can I still sign up for a plan through Connect for Health Colorado if I qualify for Health First Colorado?  

  • Yes. You can still purchase a private health insurance plan at full price if you qualify for Health First Colorado. 
  • NOTE: If you qualify for Health First Colorado or CHP+, you will not qualify for financial help to lower the cost of your health insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado. You will pay full price for your health insurance plan.

I applied through Connect for Health Colorado and was told that my application was sent to Health First Colorado. What’s next?

  • Watch your mail or email. You will get a notification from the State of Colorado with your application results. You will also receive a letter or email if more information is needed to complete the process.
  • You may also check the results of your application through your PEAK account.
    • If you do not have a PEAK account, you can create one at Colorado.gov/PEAK. 
    • You can use your Connect for Health Colorado log-in and password information to sign into PEAK.
    • You can also use PEAK to manage your Health First Colorado or CHP+ benefits, print benefit cards, report changes and more.
  • You do not need to submit another application through PEAK.

What is Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+)?

Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) is public low-cost health insurance for certain children and pregnant women. CHP+ has different rules for qualifying than Health First Colorado. Some individuals who earn too much for Health First Colorado qualify for CHP+.

CHP+ covers doctor visits, emergency care, preventive care such as screenings and immunizations, and other procedures and treatments. CHP+ can help you and your family get healthy and stay healthy. 

What Does CHP+ Cost?

CHP+ costs vary depending on your household size and income. CHP+ members may have to pay an annual enrollment fee. This fee is due within 30 days of your CHP+ approval. If the enrollment fee is not paid within the 30 days allowed then the family will be denied and will need to re-apply. Some CHP+ clients may also have to pay co-pays to their health care provider at the time of service. Pregnant women, American Indians and Alaskan Natives do not have to pay annual enrollment fees or co-pays.

See if you can sign up for Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+)

Who Qualifies?

  • Children age 18 and under and pregnant women age 19 and over.
  • Applicants with household income under 260% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). See the CHP+ Income Chart for details.
  • Lawfully present children and pregnant women with no five-year waiting period
  • Children and pregnant women not eligible for Health First Colorado
  • Children and pregnant women who do not have other health insurance
Family SizeApproximate Monthly Family Income to Qualify for Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+)
Enrollment Fee:
1 child: $25
2 or more children: $35
Enrollment Fee:
1 child: $75
2 or more children: $105
1Up to $2,217$2,218 – $2,707
2Up to $3,002$3,002 – $3,664
3Up to $3,787$3,788 – $4,662
4Up to $4,571$4,572 – $5,580
5Up to $5,356$5,357 – $6,537
6Up to $6,140$6,141 – $7,495

Financial Help Icon   Financial help through Connect for Health Colorado

If you do not qualify for Health First Colorado or Child Health Plan Plus, you might be able to get financial help to lower the cost of private health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado. 

The amount of financial help you can get is based on the cost of the premiums where you live, how many people are in your household and your estimated yearly income.

   Tip: You can also apply for Health First Colorado through PEAK:

For more information about how to apply for Medicaid, you can go to Health First Colorado’s website